Last week, we discussed the dangers of allowing a cavity to go untreated. The resulting damage can include a severely decayed tooth, a dental abscess, or the loss of a tooth and the potential spread of infection to other teeth. A shocking one in five Americans suffers cavities that have yet to be addressed; however, neglecting treatment can lead to extensive, sometimes irreparable destruction. To help you avoid the unnecessary progression of tooth decay, your Wynnewood dentist Dr. Thomas DeFinnis explains the measures you can take to help prevent or treat tooth decay before it can destroy your oral health.
The most common way to prevent the onset of tooth decay is to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen. The metabolic reactions of oral bacteria introduce the acid responsible for tooth decay, as well as the consumption of naturally acidic foods and beverages. Attacking the bacteria responsible for acid production has been the focus of much oral health research. At the present time, however, the most effective prevention method is to limit the amount of acid produced and introduced to your teeth. Brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day helps control the bacterial population, inhibiting their ability to produce mass amounts of cavity-causing acids. If you consume sugary or acidic snacks or drinks, do so quickly to lessen the amount of time your teeth are exposed. Also, saving the sugary and acidic nourishments for larger meals will help neutralize the acid presence. Rinse your mouth with water after every meal, too, to help dislodge food particles and rinse away dental plaque.
Unfortunately, nobody is perfect, and even the most diligent brushing and flossing routine may leave room for error and allow cavities to form. Attending your six-month dental checkup and cleaning goes a long way in preventing the destruction of tooth decay. While early stages of decay are often symptomless, making self-diagnosis nearly impossible until the infection progresses, Dr. DeFinnis and our experienced hygienists are trained to thoroughly clean your teeth and gums and inspect your mouth for early signs of decay and disease. When detected early, cavities can typically be treated and the damage reversed by removing the decayed tissue and replacing it with a composite-resin dental filling. Removing the decay halts its progression, and restoring the tooth with a filling material will help reinforce the remaining healthy structure.
If you’re among the 20% of Americans with untreated cavities, there is a possibility that your tooth may become damaged beyond repair if any more time lapses until treatment. Severe cases of tooth decay often require a root canal treatment or total extraction to prevent the spread of infection. Don’t hesitate any longer to seek treatment, before it’s too late. To learn more, or to treat your tooth decay, contact our Wynnewood dental office. You can schedule a dental checkup with our Wynnewood dentist, Dr. DeFinnis, by calling Wynnewood Dental Arts at (610) 642-0139